Do Vans Make Good Shoes for Weightlifting? All You Need to Know


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When you begin lifting, finding the right shoe is not always easy. There are so many shoes on the market. I’ve gone through countless pairs, including Vans, and I am here to help you learn if this shoe is right for lifting. 

Wearing the wrong shoes while lifting can put you in danger. Believe me, you do not want to fall because your shoes fit wrong!

Are Vans good for lifting? Let’s look at the details and understand what to expect while wearing Vans for lifting or working out and answer the question of whether or not Vans are good for lifting.

Table of Contents

What Makes a Good Basic Lifting Shoe?


Before we analyze the question of ‘are Vans good for lifting?’ and how they work in the gym, you need to know what makes a good basic lifting shoe.

If you have ever done any lifting, you know your feet need to stay put at all times, or your form will be off and you could get injured. 

There are a few things you should look for in a basic lifting shoe. Are Vans good for lifting? Let’s explore this question!

  • Stability

One of the most important aspects of any shoe for lifting is stability. To keep your foot stable while lifting, you need a strong outsole. A firm outsole will give you the full stability your foot needs for staying put while lifting. 

Stability also comes from reinforcements in the mid-foot and heel. These reinforcements will keep your foot in place inside the shoe and prevent it from moving around. You don’t want your toes jamming into the ends of your shoes while lifting!

  • Comfort

Comfort is also key with shoes for lifting. Believe it or not, lifting puts a lot of strain on your feet. Without the right level of comfort, you could be in pain temporarily or worse, permanently injure your feet. 

You should always try on weightlifting shoes before buying. You also need to break them in before heading to the gym. Try wearing them around the house and make sure they offer a perfect fit before you hit the weights. 

A comfortable pair of lifting shoes should not make your feet feel overly confined. You should not feel discomfort in your feet when squatting, lunging, or carrying out other weightlifting exercises. 

  • Durability

You also need a durable weightlifting shoe. Lifting puts a strain on your feet and shoes. If you workout a few times a week, shoes that are not durable will fail you, because they just won’t last. 

You need to look for a shoe with a durable outsole and upper. Always look for a rubber outsole and leather uppers. Choose shoes made with the most durable materials to ensure they remain in good shape for years. 

Are Vans Good for Lifting? -Deadlifts

Some people want to wear Vans when deadlifting, because they are a versatile shoe. You can wear them in the gym and out. Are Vans good for lifting? The answer is yes, but they aren’t perfect. 

While they do not market Vans as a weightlifting shoe, they work somewhat well. I didn’t have space to carry an extra pair of shoes in my bag one day, so I had to wear my Vans.

It surprised me how well these shoes worked in the gym. One of the first things I noticed was that the sole does not become compressed when lifting, even with heavy weights. 

I found my Vans gripped the gym floor perfectly because of the iconic waffle outsole. It surprised me to learn that my Vans held up just as well as some other shoes made for lifting. Vans did keep me comfortable throughout my workout, including my deadlifts and other exercises.

What surprised me also with the Vans is that I did more reps that day. Maybe it was a coincidence. Maybe it was the comfort of the shoes. I lean toward the latter because my feet were more comfortable, and that did inspire me to keep going. 


Are Vans Good for Running?

Let’s put the question of ‘are Vans good for lifting?’ to one side for a moment.

If you want to start running, you may not want to invest in a pair of running shoes yet. After all, you may not stick with it, and what would you do with an extra pair of running shoes lying around?

If you have a favorite pair of Vans, it might be tempting to wear them on a run. I have to say from personal experience, this is not a good idea. Believe me, I wanted it to work, but Vans are not good for running!

  • Flat Sole

The problem comes with the flat sole of the shoe. When you are running, you need a flexible sole to move with your foot and help absorb shock. Vans cannot deliver in this area because they are too rigid. 

  • Lack of Breathability

Vans also lack breathability, making it difficult to keep air circulation around your feet. When I tried running in Vans, I found my feet sweated profusely and ended up causing blisters on a couple of my toes. 

  • Lack of Flexibility

When you are running, your shoe needs to be springy and flexible. Running shoes bend with each movement, allowing your feet to spring up and keep your momentum. When running in Vans, your feet slap the pavement hard. It is highly uncomfortable and will leave your feet sore for days. 

  • Lack of Heel Security

Another reason I would not recommend Vans for running is because of the lack of heel support and security. I found my Achilles tendon under a great strain while trying to run in Vans. These shoes do not give the support you need in a running shoe, so don’t try them!

When comparing Vans to any running shoe, Vans are almost always going to lose. They are just not made for running. Comparing them to Nike Pegasus left my Vans in the dust. 

Running shoes like Nike Pegasus cradle your foot in comfort. The level of heel security is tremendous because of the deeper heel cup. 

Nike Pegasus, unlike Vans, are springy and respond well to your feet and the pavement. My feet feel like I am running on air with my Pegasus shoes, but not so much with Vans. 

Are Vans Good for Squatting?

If you want to use Vans for squatting, it may surprise you to learn they will work. Just like with deadlifting, you need a flat shoe that offers a tremendous floor grip. 

They make Vans with a flat waffle textured outsole. This outsole will help keep your feet firmly planted on the ground when you are squatting. 

Since my Vans worked so well when deadlifting, I thought I would try on squats. Now I will say, these shoes are not for every squatting style. 

If you like keeping your feet flat while squatting, you will find Vans decent enough to allow you to squat easily. You may also find Vans perfect if you are accustomed to squatting barefoot. 

You may find wearing Vans while squatting may take some getting used to. Practice a few wearing them first, with no weight. See how they feel, and if they keep your feet planted well enough to squat safely. 

Are Converse or Vans Better for Lifting?


If you are into heavy lifting, you know that having the right shoes in the gym is critical. You do not want to waste your time lifting in a dangerous or uncomfortable shoe. 

There are lifters on both sides of the aisle. Some say Converse are better, and some prefer Vans. I am here to break the tie and see which one holds up best. 

Both shoes are similar in their makeup. Although Vans do not market these as a lifting shoe, the 0mm heel-to-toe drops and fairly firm outsoles have made them both popular for lifting. But which is better? Are Vans good for lifting?

I love wearing Converse and Vans for casual wear, and own several pairs of both. If you are on the fence about the two, I want to give you the facts to help you decide which will be better for you. 

One of the first things you will notice in differences between the two shoes is the outsole. Vans have a tight waffle weave, while Converse has a full rubber outsole with different areas of traction. 

I found Vans slightly more grippy on the gym floor. The difference might seem nominal to some, but I can tell if a lift is going to fail due to how hard my feet grip the floor. 

I think Converse has a slightly firmer insole construction, which some may prefer. As far as the heel-to-toe drops, the shoes are the same. 

Overall, I would say Converse and Vans perform similarly when lifting. Though I slightly prefer Vans over Converse, there are others who prefer the opposite. 

Vans Are Not Made for the Gym, But They Work!

Vans have never marketed these as a workout shoe; they made them for skating. The flat bottoms do work perfectly for skating, but they also translate well to lifting and squatting in the gym. 

Am I telling you to purchase Vans specifically for lifting? No. What I am saying is that many people, myself included, have found their comfortable pair of Vans work fine for some aspects of gym workouts, but they are not good for running. 

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